The Faculty of Agronomy (offering a general route of study) was founded in Čačak in 1978 as a member institution of the University of Kragujevac thanks to the enthusiasm, persistence, foresight and progressive mature ideas of the Čačak Municipality officials, and the responsiveness of the Government of the Republic of Serbia. The Faculty’s first students began to acquire theoretical and practical knowledge and skills on 9 October 1978. The idea was to create professionals with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy who would have the capacity to improve farming in the uplands and highlands of central Serbia. The academic staff at the time were worthy of respect as they were active as teachers and/or researchers at the College of Agriculture, Čačak (offering two-year courses in fruit growing) – the institution which laid the foundations for the Faculty of Agronomy – as well as at the Fruit Research Institute, Čačak, Small Grains Research Institute, Kragujevac, and other institutions, primarily the Faculties of Agriculture in Zemun, Novi Sad and Priština. Students enrolling at the Faculty of Agronomy came not only from Serbia, but also from the other republics of the then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as well as from abroad. Over time, the Faculty of Agronomy has developed its own academic staff from among the best students, who are now the backbone and mainstay of the academic process. To date, about 1,650 students have gained bachelor’s, specialist’s, magister’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the Faculty of Agronomy. These students include renowned experts, company owners and directors, local and state government employees, teachers, professors, directors and heads of educational and research institutions, deans and deputy deans of university schools, etc.
More recently, while keeping pace with the very dynamic changes in the political, economic, social and other spheres, the demands of the choosy “spoiled” market i.e. the end consumer, and the new outlook on life, nature and society, the Faculty itself has undergone changes along the way. Specifically, under the Bologna Process, at the end of the first decade of this century, instead of the one route of study initially existing, we formed four bachelor’s study programmes (General Agronomy, Fruit and Grape Growing, Zootechnics, and Food Technology), two master’s degree programmes (Food Technology and Agronomy, the latter including four modules: Field and Vegetable Crop Production, Fruit and Grape Growing, Zootechnics, and Plant Protection), and a doctoral degree programme covering only the field of Agronomy for the time being. All study programmes were accredited in 2009, and reaccredited in 2013. The next accreditation cycle is ahead of us in 2019.
Both agriculture and the processing sector are facing various global and local challenges. Man today, particularly in developed societies, demands safe highly nutritious food rich in primary and secondary compounds. It is imperative that experts holding any degree in the abovementioned fields produce such foods, while taking extreme care of the environment and preventing the pollution of air, water and soil as the chief resources for the survival of living beings. Global climate change also deserves attention, and this phenomenon is, slowly but surely, becoming the greatest challenge. Therefore, continuous training of students, combined with the application of new knowledge and technologies, is the only possible way to address these challenges. Through the integration of teaching and research, the academic staff at the Faculty of Agronomy take an active part in implementing these tasks, while preserving the good inherited from the past, on the one hand, and trying to establish the closest possible connection with contemporary demands and challenges, on the other.
One of the utmost goals of the Faculty of Agronomy is to rank among the most prestigious institutions of higher education in Serbia, while becoming internationally recognised, particularly in Southeastern Europe. Aware of the current and imminent challenges to be faced in the near and distant future, the Faculty’s students and academic staff will always be guided by two Latin mottos: Per aspera ad astra and Audaces fortuna iuvat!
Čačak, 7 January 2019
Prof. Dr Tomo Milošević